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Crowd heads to Ikea ahead of closure on Tuesday, company says online store to continue

SINGAPORE — Large crowds were seen at Ikea over the weekend following the Government’s announcement on Friday (April 3) that schools and all non-essential workplaces will be closed from Tuesday to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Crowd heads to Ikea ahead of closure on Tuesday, company says online store to continue

Responding to TODAY’s queries on Sunday, Ms Corinna Schuler, the company’s head of corporate communications, said that prior to Saturday’s crowd, Ikea had put in place strict measures to limit the number of people in its stores and secure safe social distancing.

SINGAPORE — Large crowds were seen at Ikea over the weekend following the Government’s announcement on Friday (April 3) that schools and all non-essential workplaces will be closed from Tuesday to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In photos that were first circulated on social media on Saturday, a meandering queue was seen outside Ikea’s Alexandra outlet, with people waiting to enter the building.

Some were observed to be wearing masks, and there were those with infants in tow.

The large crowd that appeared on Saturday led the Swedish furniture store to urge its customers to avoid visiting the store during peak hours, and “especially on Sunday”.

Responding to TODAY’s queries on Sunday, Ms Corinna Schuler, the company’s head of corporate communications, said that prior to Saturday’s crowd, Ikea had put in place strict measures to limit the number of people in its stores and secure safe social distancing.

She added, however, that the government’s circuit breaker measures announced earlier prompted a surge in visitors to Ikea “as many people realised we will be closed” in the coming month. 

“On Saturday, the number of people went way beyond the capacity of our waiting area at Ikea Alexandra — creating queues all around the building,“ said Ms Schuler.

ONLINE STORE TO REMAIN OPEN

On its Facebook page, Ikea said that it understands the needs of its customers during this period, but urged them to consider visiting the retail store on Monday where it will remain open.

Ms Schuler said that Ikea had sent out social media messages to discourage people from visiting its retail stores and, with advice from the police, improved the set-up of its waiting area to broaden the distances between people.

“We also added extra security officers and Enterprise Singapore helped out by sending in social-distancing ambassadors to actively manage the crowd,” she said.

On Sunday morning, Ikea closed the car park at its outlet in Alexandra.

“That measure and some rain in the afternoon has eased the situation,” said Ms Schuler, adding that Ikea will continue its e-commerce operations in the coming month.

She said: “We ask our customers to be patient as we are securing more supply in our home office range and other categories that are very popular right now.”

IKEA FOOD SERVICES SUSPENDED

Fans of the company’s meatballs and Swedish goodies might also be disappointed to note that food services there will not be available when the Government’s circuit-breaker measures start on Tuesday.

Ms Schuler said that Ikea had received advice from the authorities to suspend food operations at its stores over the coming month.

“We will be closing the Ikea Restaurant, Bistro and Swedish Food Market,” she said.

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Covid-19 coronavirus social distancing Ikea

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